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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3274 ..


reality is that all these have a significant impact on the police, the victims, the family and friends of those victims and of course on those workplaces.

The government frequently praise the strong growth in Canberra’s population. They say that the growth in Canberra’s population is a good thing—and I have got no problem with that—but they seem to forget that they need to have services that keep pace with this growth. As our population continues to grow, workloads for the police continue to grow too and it is disappointing that funding has failed to keep up with inflation, population growth and workloads.

I am pleased, however, that the ACT Policing futures plan is progressing. This document, created by and for ACT Policing, will, I hope, provide government with the blueprint package for a stronger and sustainable force into the future. I look forward to seeing this document once it is finalised and made public and I hope that the government takes its recommendations seriously and implements them as a priority.

The Canberra Liberals welcome the initiatives in the emergency services space in this year’s budget, but it is a shame that others have been ignored or the government has fallen short with regard to other areas that are in need of investment. Firefighters will receive new protective helmets. This is good, but it does fall short of what many firefighters believe should have been an investment in their full protective gear—their helmets and their uniforms. We also welcome the additional 18 firefighters, but once again this, it seems, has fallen short of what is actually required.

I am also pleased to see that there are more ambulance paramedics being recruited, along with upgrades to ambulance vehicles and stretchers. However, it is important to remember what happened in the lead-up to the government making this decision. In the 2016-17 financial year over 300 emergency ambulance shifts—that is, 41½ per cent of all shifts—fell below the minimum level of crewing. Over 300 shifts have not had enough crew to even cover the minimum requirement.

This financial year things are not looking much better. While we do not have all the data—and hopefully the minister will actually provide it, rather than hide it or stall it—it seems that we are on track to have 200 shifts below the minimum crewing level. It is no wonder our response times for the ambulance service are beginning to slip. The ambulance service do a great job, but this government and this minister need to back them up. While the ACT government may be replacing some old ambulances with newer vehicles, there are simply not the number of ambulance officers required to actually operate them all. This is a failure of government.

Finally, in the corrections space the AMC continues to cost ACT ratepayers more and more, while the facility fails to live up to its mandate. It fails to live up to the promise that Mr Stanhope made all those years ago. We have seen escapes, bashings, high levels of contraband, continual drug use and, sadly, two deaths. Late last year a prisoner was mistakenly allowed to go free, straight out the front door.

The Minister for Corrections has been in charge of this facility for several years now but the failures keep happening and we keep seeing an ever-increasing cost to deliver


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